Help sought for dumb questions

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 16:15
ThreadID: 103720 Views:2762 Replies:9 FollowUps:21
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OK, time to ask a few dumb questions ...
First off, we (+1 and me) are heading off for our first "big adventure" van trip end next month. We are hoping to do a trip from home in Tamworth, through Mungindi, and some back roads to Boulia, thence to Alice Springs, have a few days around there, then return via Yulara/Uluru, Port Augusta, Broken Hill and back home.
Taking the Navara to tug our Goldstream Storm Vacationer van.

So ... questions ...
1. is this the best direction to attack this trip? Would we be better off going the reverse direction, ie out via BH and back via Boulia?
2. Would you consider this trip doable in a 3 week timeframe, allowing for sightseeing and photography?
3. Apart from plenty of fuel/water/food, and standard spares (eg 1 wheel/tyre for each unit) what essentials should we take? Have just gotten a WAECO freezer unit (40Litre) so we can keep stuff cold, and currently experimenting with freezing stuff in made to measure meal sizes that will fit neatly in there.
4. I have obviously forgotten to ask something important, so suggest answers to the questions I forgot, as well!
Cheers
John
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Reply By: Sandman - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 17:29

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 17:29
Are you offroad capable (to what extent) or blacktop only ?

Pete
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Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 18:00

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 18:00
Pete,
Thanks for your reply.
Navara is 4wd, and the van is off road capable. Good clearance.

Cheers
John
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Follow Up By: Sandman - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 18:21

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 18:21
John, being an Alice Springs local I'll just give you a few ideas out here....

1) Go and visit the Royal Flying Doctor visitor center, buy a coffee and poke around (I'm biased, my wife is a nurse for them).
2) Telegraph station on the northside of town, awesome for a picnic, free BBQ facilities.
3) Drive 30km north of town to the Tropic of Capricorn and take your photo :-)
4) East McDonald Ranges (east of town), you have Ross River resort, Trephena Gorge, about 70km out I think. Gorge has a great rim walk but again dont do it in the heat of the day, gets very hot with the heat reflected from the rocks.
5) West Mcdonald Ranges, more to see. Can suggest going out to Glen Helen, on the way there are a number of gorges, Ormiston being the most impressive.
6) If you're on the way to West Mac's and want to bush camp, about 10km after you turn right to Glen Helen (straight ahead is Hermansbug on larapinta Drive), there is a river crossing (dry). Free bush camping, its awesome...drive in a few KMs....its so nice. Look for the "Hugh River" crossing on your map.
7) Once you leave Glen Helen follow the road to Goss's Bluff, HUGE meteroite crater..
8) Keep going, you will hit a t-road, turn right and this is the Merindee loop that goes to Kings Canyon.
9) While Uluru is "nice', go and walk Kings Canyon (early morning as its getting hot out here). If you wanna blow the cash book in for a "dinner under the stars" event. Its worth doing once in your life, Dinner out in teh bush with a "Stargaze" talk.
10) Do the Olgas, valley of the winds walk, its a few hours, impressive :-)
11) Once you start to head home on that road you'll go past Curtin Springs, you must stop and check the place out, dont hesitate to stay there if needed, great place and good tucker...
12) Oh forgot to mention, across road from RFDS is "the reptile center", cant miss it, go and look. Also on north side there is a visitors center at "School of the air", its signposted, definitely worth a look
13) If you need car bits in town, we have a repco, supercheap auto....
14) General hardware, Bunnings on north side of town for other stuff.
15) If you rip your daks, we have a HUGE Kmart and Target (country)
16) Fruit n veggies, Coles and Woolies. Bring your shopper dockets, the fuel here isnt cheap.
17) If you wanna stay overnight in town, Heavitree Gap Park/Lodge. its a safe and friendly place, you can feed the rock wallabies at sunset.
18) Oh Araleun Cultural Center on larapinta drive, nice to look around. Just behind them on the corner of memorial and Larapinta is the "Conellan Airline" hanger. It should be open, its free, walk around and look at the old planes. Right next to Conellan is a large graveyard, go and find Albert Namatijra's grave.. Some bleep burnt down his "twin white gums" on larapinta drive so its no more :-(

If you need any more info, don't hesitate to ask :-)

Pete
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Follow Up By: Sandman - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 18:27

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 18:27
Darn, forgot to mention

1) Let your tyres down on the dirt :-) 25psi and less or you will regret it on the Merindee loop
2) Take a puncture kit, darn handy and very easy to use.

Take less than more......especially your sense of humour and adventure:-)

Pete
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Follow Up By: Member - Jack - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:28

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:28
Sandman, if you're not on some Tourism payroll, you should be.

We'll be in the area around that time as well and I have done a 'cut'n'paste of your reply and put it into my trip notes. I don't think I'll need anything else. Thanks.

Jack
The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Follow Up By: Witi Repartee - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:28

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:28
Great reply. Comprehensive and full of local knowledge.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:30

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:30
All of that, well almost all, plus a day at the Desert Park and the National Road Transport Hall of Fame, took us five weeks Sandman, without any travel time to get there.Alice Springs has so much to offer.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:30

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:30
I'd also add the Alice Springs Desert Park - great displays and an intro to what to look for.

Have a great trip.
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Follow Up By: Sandman - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:40

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:40
Motherhen

I was going to mention the Hall of Fame, slap me :-) I've only been there once, ages ago, I should go back and spend a little more time there.

Honestly Alice IS the gateway to the never Never...

Just last weekend we did 4 days away, Old Andado, Mt Dare, Dalhousie Springs and back via Lambert Center. its just so easy when you live here.

As for Alice, be adventuresome and drive out Larapinta to Flynns's grave, park the car and a 45 minute walk to the top of mt Gillen, awesome and engergetic walk !

Take a lilo out to Ellery Big hole ( on the way to Glenn Helen), there is the Ochre Pits, there..

Darn I feel like anther drive across teh Tanami out to Wolf creek Crater, now that's a SERIOUSLY impressive crater !!!

You could also walk up to the top of Mt Sonder (2nd highest point in the NT) from our near Glen Helen, its the last leg of the larapinta trail...

Boy I could keep going but you'd fall asleep :-)

I jsut love Alice, used to live in Syd most of my life but I saw the light....well red dirt and sunshine I really mean :-)

Enjoy your travels !!!!

Pete in Alice

P.S Vicki, if they move the fence to the desert park out 5 meters, you wouldnt know the difference :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:45

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:45
Pete that's why I like it - and most likely the only way I'll see Many of the desert mammals and birds! ok some of the reptiles too - a few of which I'm happy not to see outside of a park.

You live in a great spot!
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Follow Up By: Sandman - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:55

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:55
Vicki

I must say I pinch myself every day....sick hey :-) The town has its issues and at times its not pleasant but seriously, if you love the outdoors and arent too fussed not seeing an ocean then its just an awesome place....though 2 years ago we drove up to Broome and swagged it at James Price point for a week.....

My wife works for the Royal Flying doctor and she keeps telling me about the awesome scenery she gets to fly around, I'm making notes, I gotta get there !!! Its getting that sad that I see myself changing cars, moving from a nice Prado to the new D4D V8 Troopcarrier..

Cheers..Pete
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Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:01

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:01
Troopie - yum! I would have one in a shot but it would not fit into my work car park.
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Follow Up By: Sandman - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:10

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:10
Vicki, you bad girl... I love your thinking :-) I used to work in Rhodes in Sydney, dont think a Troopy with a cage and tent would fit :-) My current carpark at work, no problems though I ride my pushy to work most days

I got a price on the Troopy last week, was $72K here, called a Toyota dealer in QLD, was $67K...with a great roadtrip to boot !

I called our leasing company, they suggested I wait as there will be a "change of government" in three weeks and the coalition is going to reverse the recent leasing decision :-)

You know you want it Vicki.. you know you want it !!!! :-)
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:45

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:45
John

We also live in Tamworth and few years ago we did the same trip in a couple of days less than you have allocated. You can easily spend 3 months doing this, but three weeks is adequate if time is limited and you don't plan to spend any time in the Flinders. I've been back to Alice twice since as an example

Your vehicle will be fine, can't comment about your van. We towed a heavy camper trailer (KK) with our Pajero and there were 5 of us

Member message me if you want more details, but the equipment you have also seems fine. Don't try to take all your food from home, shops in Longreach, Alice Springs and even Uluru are as an example have as much or more than what you would find in the smaller towns around Tamworth.

In general the dirt roads are no worse than the dirt you would encounter west of Narrabri or Moree, with the exception of around Mt Dare, should you go that way.
AnswerID: 516238

Follow Up By: Sandman - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:51

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:51
Mark

The roads around Mt Dare are absolutely stuffed. They either didnt close them or opened them too early after rain, some places we were down to 20km/hr with 25psi and tough dog suspension.....That was mainly between Dalhousie and Mt Dare. From Mt Dare to Finke it was a tad better but not much....

Pete
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Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:56

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 19:56
one thing to be very aware of is that portable fridges run as freezers draw 4 to 6 times as much power as they do run as a fridge.

In warm weather they run almost continuously.

Lots of people come out on the wrong end of this issue.

just to give an example.

with good preparation and good fridge discipline, people have been known to get 4 days out of a 40 liter fridge run as a fridge from an N70 battery between charges in fair weather.

You would be lucky to get the same unit run as a freezer to run 12 hours or in practice over night.

Then you need at least 4 to 6 hours driving to recharge the battery.

SO..if you plan to run a "freezer" ya better have BIG batteries.

cheers
AnswerID: 516239

Reply By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:06

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:06
we did the exact same trip a few years back. 21 days with our 2 boys from NSW Central Coast. Just enough time but not hectic if you plan ok. Brilliant for our first red centre trip. Alice was a new experience for our first time but fabulous trips using it as a base. We stayed a week and saw most of anything within a day trip and came back via the Oodnadatta, Silverton and BH. Nothing really difficult mate, just keep an eye on tyre pressures/speed on the rough stuff and make sure the tyres are all in decent nick. You'll love it.

btw, coming back via the Oodnadatta was slower than going via Pt Augusta but we wanted to experience the track. Again, go easy with your rig and tyre pressures on the dirt - you should average 80kph as long as conditions are ok. If you are pushed for time I would spend it around Alice/Uluru and not worry about the Oodnadatta if it buys you another day or so. We can't wait to go back.

AnswerID: 516241

Reply By: Member - VickiW - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:17

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:17
John,

I'm not sure when you're leaving on your trip, but as the warmer weather approaches I'd think that the direction you are taking would be best.

Also, I'd suggest doing an itinerary working out how far you will travel each day to make sure it is comfortable. always nice to have the driving days interspersed with some multi night stays and leaving time to enjoy a late start or early stop. You may find this is a good first trip to sort out some of the places you want to come back to & spend more time - I think you will find lots of those.

I'd also plan on buying food along the way - save on space and support the local towns (and save on fridge power) - working out where you can stock up and perhaps allowing for the odd night out / pub dinner. On a recent trip with my ex MIL out of 18 nights we ate "out" 7 of them - good fun & lead to all sorts of trouble!

AnswerID: 516243

Follow Up By: Sandman - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:46

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:46
Vicki

You are so right, buy food along the way....Mt Dare actually had well priced food.. in Alice, you cant beat the Todd tavern on Thursday night, Schnitzels for $8.....Heavitree Gap pub does $10 roasts on Sunday night.....

Last time we camped out at the Hugh river, we didn't get up till 10am :-)

The comments about the fridge is right, run it lean it will last a few days, in hot months and trying to freeze stuff, 1 day and you'll run the battery down...

Could even suggest throw in a battery charger, we used it in Broome as we couldn't be bothered driving :-)

Pete
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FollowupID: 795566

Reply By: Geoff in SA - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:59

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 20:59
Hi Johnat
well that wasn't such a dumb question after all
Seems you have a lot to digest

regards

Geoff
AnswerID: 516253

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:15

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 21:15
HEY, Geoff! Yeah, the responses have opened up a few more options and the possibility of more trips has been mentioned by SWMBO! ;^}
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Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 14:01

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 14:01
hi johnat
its wrong to to consider your questions are dumb and look at all the the good answers you have received
but believe it not out of curiosity
I googled------ dumb questions -------and came up with this website I was a bit taken back
but it seems everything is catered for on the web
check this out
www.dumbquestions.com
cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 16:26

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 16:26
Thanks mazcan, the thread title was a bit "tongue in cheek" but got the sort of responses I was after. I appreciate the help from all on here, whether I post in the threads or not, there's a serious amount of knowledge in here!
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FollowupID: 795616

Reply By: Bazooka - Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 22:55

Sunday, Aug 11, 2013 at 22:55
Love the humour John. The answer is 42 but I'm not sure about the question.

Depending on how active you are the walk up Ormiston Gorge (West Macdonnell Ras) is great, even better if you climb up the bluff at the end and look out over the pound.

Further on if you do the loop Palm Valley is always worth a visit (minus van).
AnswerID: 516262

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 19:04

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 19:04
John, I've walked about 200km in the West MacDonnell Ranges of the 230km Larapinta Trail, + stayed at Glen Helen. Depending on what level of comforts you are after, Ormiston Gorge is the pick of the places to stay in the West MacDonnell ranges. If you do any bushwalks around Alice, make sure it's the half Ormiston Day Pound walk.

IF you head past Coober Pedy, make sure you look at the Breakaways, just north west of the town.

Again if you need any further information, happy to help.

Mark
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Follow Up By: railrocker - Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013 at 14:35

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013 at 14:35
The question was Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy, the meaning of life, and the answer was 42
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FollowupID: 796722

Reply By: Member - Terry. G (TAS) - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 03:18

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 03:18
I hope that yous have a good trip as it looks like Sandman has given some good advice I know his advice has also been cut and pasted for myself as we to are doing the trip in 2014 from south to Darwin and return I sent an email to NT Tourist info on areas around Alice to see and got no reply so Sandmans reply to you was helpful for our trip also as we will be coming up with a 21 ft van so thanks Sand man and sorry for breaking the thread
Terry
AnswerID: 516267

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 07:30

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 07:30
Terry,
The thread is not exclusive! No need to apologise for "breaking"!

Feel free to add any comments/questions yourself! We'll all benefit, as I know I have from Sandman's replies, as well as the other comments.

With luck, we'll meet on the road somewhere, and share a beer/softie and some war stories!

John
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FollowupID: 795585

Reply By: Member - Terry. G (TAS) - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 11:11

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 11:11
johnat
With luck, we'll meet on the road somewhere, and share a beer/softie and some war stories!
Would be well worth looking forward to johnat the beer sounds good just not sure about the softie side of it
Terry
AnswerID: 516287

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 16:23

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 at 16:23
Whatever floats your boat (or something!)
Softies are good when mixed with serious stuff, though!
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